Monday, May 9, 2011

Steady, Steady, STEADY

Last weekend I went to Kansas City to play with the grandchildren and dig in the dirt with my daughter....We took long walks, planted all the plants I brought her, exercised to 20 minute workouts, drank lots of (good!) coffee, and played with the neighborhood children. 

On Saturday, I headed south to Pleasant Hill, MO, and the Canine Temperament Test offered there.  James had already taken and passed his about a year and a half ago, and now it was Prosper's turn. He'd been cooped up in Kathryn's backyard for several days, so he was Quite Glad to get out somewhere new and soak up all the new smells (it's what he does Best, besides pee).

Basically, it is a "walk in the park," with several increasingly "stressful" stations for the dog to master.

The Canine Temperament Test is, quite frankly, the Easiest, Cheapest title you can obtain.  Basically, you take your dog for a "walk in the park," and all these weird things "happen" to them. Prosper is probably the most stable, well-adjusted dog I have ever met. NOTHing fazes him. NOTHING really spooks him or offends him. He has the Nicest dog-to-dog manners, and loves every person he meets.

Once the test begins, the handler is instructed to do these 2 things: Do not talk. Do not correct the dog. Dog is on a 6 ft lead, and is allowed to do ANYthing w/in these 6 ft boundaries. They want to see how the dog reacts and handles (and recovers from) all these "new" situations thrown upon them. ALL of the "tests" were nothing new to Prosper (gunshots, weird noises, folks RUSHing out to meet him, umbrellas opened up in front of him, weird surfaces to walk upon, and, finally, a "scary stranger" who comes weaving out, yelling incoherently, wielding a whip....)---he's lived in Chaos and Noise most of his young life.

The test is designed to get increasingly stressful, w/90% of those who "fail" (and it is only a pass/fail test) beginning to fail at the next-to-the-last section of walking on weird surfaces. By the time the get to the "scary stranger," the stress is too great to "recover."

(Now, mind you, 90% of the total dogs do not fail, just that it's the last couple of sections that can gitcha, so you can rock right along, and then come to the slick surface to walk on, and the dog just canNOT take any more).

And what did our Prosper do? YEAY!!!!! The Meadowwwwwww!!!! (did any of yall see Bambi....). Mom's giving me the WHOLE LEASH! And I smell New things!!!

At every station, he briefly acknowledged what he was "supposed to," then head down, like a Beagle. He passed. The evaluator asked if we ever did any tracking...